After hearing Mayor Lee announce a new EpicenterSF website for Central Market in March, I went to epicentersf.org and was quite disappointed. The site looked like it was put together in less than an hour, and by someone lacking web design skills. It did not resemble what the Mayor said would be on the site. But a few days later I came across epicenter-sf.org, which is the terrific site the Mayor was promoting. I Googled “Epicenter SF” this week and found that the correct site is far down the page while the small-scale epicentersf.org listing is near the top. The potential of what should be the go-to site for the Central Market and Tenderloin may be limited by the name confusion, requiring city action.
City websites are not known for high-quality, as functionality inevitably trumps design. So when I finally discovered the correct and impressive EpicenterSF website I was blown away and thought: how come nobody knows about this?
One reason is that people may be going to the wrong site because they assume that a San Francisco website promoted by the mayor would be near the top of a Googled page for “EpicenterSF.” And considering that the erroneous site includes cultural organizations—as opposed to plumbing supply stores or businesses clearly unrelated to Central Market—this confusion is heightened.
The mayor’s office is trying to resolve this confusion. Let’s hope it happens soon because Epicenter-sf.org has enormous marketing potential for areas that really need the help.
As people are hit with event information from all sides, the ability of the Central Market and Tenderloin to have a single site to promote their activities would make a big difference in bringing people in. Epicenter-sf.org looks like it can serve that purpose, and clearly represents an unprecedented city investment in the marketing of both neighborhoods.
I’ve checked the site regularly since finally discovering it in recent weeks, and someone is investing a lot of time to ensure fresh updates on events. Those holding events can add them to the site, ensuring that smaller events that cannot afford advertising elsewhere are promoted on the site.
While it does take time for Google to move even frequently hit sites to the top of a search page, those running the website may need assistance from experts in search engine optimization (SEO). If help is needed, I’m sure sf.citi would lend a hand.
The Mid-Market and Tenderloin need the type of site that the city has created, but its potential will never be realized if many searching the web for a one-stop place for activities in the area cannot find it.
While the city may convince the other site to change its name or post an alert to those seeking the city site, readers can help elevate the site’s search engine rankings by visiting epicenter-sf.org right now and on a regular basis.